Mets preparing for trade talks about surplus pitchers
New York Post beat writer Mike Puma wrote Tuesday that calls about the Mets’ extra starters are likely to ramp up in the coming days. The three pitchers in question are right-handers Bartolo Colon and Dillon Gee, and left-hander Jonathon Niese, who’d likely command the heftiest return.
A 28-year-old with three straight years of 3.40-3.71 ERAs and 3.55-3.85 FIPs, Niese is consistent and rather inexpensive. He’s signed through 2016 at salaries of $7 million this year and $9 million next, plus club options of $10 million for 2017 and $11 million for 2018, each of which carries a $500,000 buyout. Teams seeking a mid-rotation starter—albeit one who’s never cracked 200 innings—would do well to phone Alderson about Niese.
The quadragenarian Colon might appeal a tick more to American League teams because of his complete ineptitude at the plate, even when asked to bunt. He logged 202 1/3 innings last year, his heaviest workload since 2006, and took a step backward in performance, as his ERA rose by 1.44 runs (from 2.65 to 4.09) and his FIP took a more modest, 28-point hike to 3.54. Colon is owed $11 million in 2015, the final year of his contract.
Then there’s Gee, a 28-year-old righty with two more years of arbitration on tap after a $3.625 million payday in 2014. A back-end starter, Gee carries more injury risk than some teams might want from a pitcher in that capacity. He had trouble with his shoulder labrum in 2009, surgery to fix a blood clot in his shoulder in 2012, flexor tendinitis in his elbow throughout 2013, and a shoulder strain in 2014. Still, cheap starters with 2.0-win upside don’t grow on trees, so there shouldn’t be any shortage of suitors for Gee.
In fact, there were a few back during the Winter Meetings, when the Mets decided to put off trade talks until the free-agent market settled. Alderson reportedly came close to a swap with the Rockies and also spoke with the Giants, whose interest might be rekindled by news Tuesday that Tim Hudson underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankle. Hudson, for his part, is confident that he’ll be ready by Opening Day, but the Giants might consider padding a rotation riddled with question marks anyway. As of last week, they were out on both of the top remaining free agents, Max Scherzer and James Shields.
Brandon Beachy expected to choose a team by Friday
In other pitcher news, the second of two former Braves who sought new teams with which to resurrect their careers is nearing a decision. Kris Medlen, who had his second Tommy John surgery in March of 2014, signed a two-year, $8.5 million pact with the Royals on December 14th. Brandon Beachy—whose elbow went under the knife for the second time last March, too—wants to put pen to paper before the weekend.
Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweeted Tuesday that there’s been ample demand for Beachy’s services, no surprise considering that he showed mid-rotation potential when healthy. Seven teams have staged throwing sessions for Beachy in the past 10 days, and six of them were sufficiently impressed to continue pursuing him.
Though we don’t know the identities of the lingering suitors, Dallas News scribe Gerry Fraley reported that the Rangers were involved last month. At the time, the Beachy rep with whom Fraley spoke said multiple clubs were “reviewing medicals,” and that coupled with the holidays might explain the slow burn. If Cotillo’s sources are prescient, a decision should come within 48-72 hours.
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